Is Salvation A Deliverance

From Hell or Eternal Death?

By Gary Amirault

Are your beliefs on this most important topic based upon facts or traditions? If Salvation is deliverance from Hell or Eternal Death, then it is vitally important the reader find out what your beliefs are based upon for your own sake and for the sake of your loved ones. Are you willing to test your understanding of salvation and Hell? Are your church leaders willing to try to answer the questions contained in this book? This may be the most important test you will ever take. These questions were prepared by a conservative Christian who has spent thousands of hours researching this most important subject.

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Christians who try to share their faith with unbelievers are confronted with many questions, especially on the subject of Hell and eternal punishment. Many people have a real problem with Orthodox Christianity's belief that non-Christians will be punished eternally because they are not Christians. This is one of the main reasons many Christians do NOT like to share their faith. They find themselves short of good reasonable answers to questions like these:

"If my daughter is in Hell because she did not get "born again" then I'd rather go to Hell and be with her than to be with your God because there would be more love in Hell than near your vindictive God."

"How can you say burning someone alive forever is "just" or "fair" for everyone who hasn't accepted Jesus Christ? Even we humans fit the punishment to the crime. According to you, Christians, people are destined to be burned in Hell whether we are bad or not. Just being born into this world is grounds for being endlessly tortured. You say the punishment is the same regardless of the number of sins committed or how bad they were. This is not justice--this is insanity!"

"Infinite punishment for finite crimes just doesn't seem just."

"I could never torture people endlessly, especially my own children. How can you say that God will do that to His children? This seems hideous. You make God look like a monster worse than Hitler, not a loving Father Who would even die for His enemies!"

"If Hell is real and the greatest part of humanity went there, how could you HONESTLY say that 'Love NEVER fails?' Seems like Love fails most of the time according to your understanding of things." (I Cor. 13:8)

"If the wages of sin is eternal punishment in Hell, then Jesus would have to be eternally punished if in fact He died for my sins. But the Bible says the wages of sin is death which is exactly what Jesus did--died. So how can you say people will be eternally tortured in Hell? Is Jesus presently being eternally tortured in place of those who accepted Him as Lord?

Questions are powerful truth-finders. At all costs, avoid religious groups that fear questions. Anyone who believes they have the truth should not only encourage questions, but should have solid answers for what they believe, especially if they are a leader. When asking serious questions about serious topics like the subject of Hell, look them right in the eye when asking the questions. The eyes will give away whether they are firmly convinced on their answer or if they are just passing on the "traditions" of their sect.

Whenever I was previously confronted with questions like those above (and I've heard these questions countless numbers of times), all of my answers seemed to fall short of being "reasonable." And if someone watched my body language, especially my eyes, they could have seen that I did NOT have good answers for the sincere questions they asked. And I was a zealous student!

Normally used to find myself stating that the Bible says Jesus paid for our sins, but we must accept Him as our Savior. Then I would usually say something like: "God is a just God and cannot allow sin into heaven. You must have your sins forgiven and Jesus is the only one Who can forgive you. He died for your sins. We all deserve to go to Hell, but Jesus died so we wouldn't have to go. But by turning from our sins and making Jesus our Savior, He'll deliver us from this fate to which all mankind is destined. He's given us all a chance; it's up to us whether we will take it or not." Then, often a discussion would ensue about the validity of the Bible and that would open up another can of worms. I wouldn't have admitted it then, but what I was REALLY passing on for truth, was what was passed on to me from the "experts" of my church. It was NOT really beliefs given to me by the Holy Spirit Who the Bible says will teach us all truth. (John 16:13) My beliefs therefore had to be tested by thoroughly subjecting them to honest questions…questions which made my conscience reveal to me that my answers were NOT built on truth.

During my early years as a Christian, I usually attended conservative churches that could probably be labeled "evangelical" or "fundamentalist" where the emphasis was on being "born again." I took the subject of Hell VERY seriously. I talked to people about Jesus every day. I used to have a compartmentalized attachment on the back of my car seat which contained various tracts warning of Hell and the way to avoid it. Having handed out thousands of "Roman Road" tracts, I knew (and still do know) all the salvation and Hell verses very well. I read my King James Bible everyday, went to Church whenever it was open and paid my tithes.

If Hell was real, then the most important thing in my life was to get as many people saved as I possibly could. I lost business contracts because I offended clients trying to "get them saved." I lost friends who I hounded with the "Good News" who didn't think my good news was so hot. I went to my family with tears in my eyes and begged them to accept Christ. By the time I was finished with them, they seriously considered having me committed to an institution for the insane. My brothers and sisters wanted nothing to do with me anymore. Tens of thousands of tracts explaining the simple plan of salvation were forced into the hands of people all over the Maryland, DC, Virginia area. Wherever I traveled, I usually took tracts with me. I was taught this rejection was the price one paid to follow Jesus. After all, He too, was despised and rejected even by His own family.

Whenever there was a missionary or evangelist in the area, I usually attended their meetings. I wanted to learn more about how to save more people. It was extremely frustrating and disappointing to find that most of the church members and my pastor did not share the burden for souls that seemed to me to be mandatory if in fact the teaching of Hell as taught by our Church and my King James Bible was true. We often heard sermons from pastorrs or highly paid traveling evangelists on the dangers of Hell. And then, instead of going out into the community to try to save a few doomed souls, we would often went to a nice restaurant to listen to the evangelist tell his favorite war stories while supposedly people all around us were dropping into the fiery pit. To me, it seemed that if the teaching of Hell was real, we, Christians, were not taking it seriously. And if WE weren't taking it seriously, how could we expect those we wanted to influence take it seriously themselves?

If there were a Hell or place of eternal punishment, our actions in our communities surely didn't show it. Our belief in Hell was NOT made manifest by our actions. We sinned just like those sinners we were trying to save. Oh, maybe for most of us, it wasn't the same kind of sins. Maybe we didn't drink, cuss, or smoke anymore, but boy we were experts in backbiting, slander, gossip, self-righteousness, pride, jealousy, and a host of other Biblical sins. How was it that we who were supposed to know better and supposedly had the Holy Spirit to help us lead a Holy life could sin and get away with it while those who were "slaves to sin" and had NO power to stop sinning were going to be endlessly tortured for theirs? This seemed a bit hypocritical.

I finally personally concluded we, Christians, including myself, WERE a bunch of hypocrites. We "said" but did not do. We condemned while doing the very same things we condemned others for. The more I looked at us while reading the Bible, the more we looked like the Pharisees who were Jesus' enemies--and I remembered what Jesus thought of the Pharisees and the many warnings He gave them. As a matter of fact, almost every time my King James put the word Hell into Jesus' mouth, He was always speaking to the religious people, NOT the street sinner. (Something to think about, isn't it?)

I finally became so disgusted with our poor example and lack of concern for the lost that I asked God to take me out of this world. I was tired of the hypocrisy. I was worn out. Burned out. It seemed to me that if anyone deserved to go to Hell, it was us Christians for our hypocrisy and lack of concern for the lost.

God answered my prayer not by killing me, but killing a lot of "traditional teaching" I had swallowed which did NOT come from Him NOR from the Bible in its original languages. He had someone give me a handful of booklets dealing with a handful of key words in the Bible. According to this author, these words were mistranslated in many of the leading "selling" English Bible translations. After reading these booklets, I made an extensive search at various seminaries to see if in fact what this author was saying was true. It was true!! What this author was saying made God's judgments perfectly line up with His love. It wiped away those contradictions that I constantly had to shove under the rug of "Well, God said it, I believe it even if I can't understand it all." The Bible FINALLY made perfect sense! Scriptures like "Mercy shall triumph over judgment" (James 2:13) all of a sudden fit. I always had trouble with Scriptures like that one. After all, ninety-nine percent of mankind in Hell didn't sound like mercy triumphing over judgment! Does it to you?

I wrote this book to challenge my fellow Christians to think through what they believe about this most important subject. Why are Christians so lackadaisical about their responsibility to lay down their lives to save their friends and enemies? The following questions may break through the crust of traditions of men and bring the reader to some new ground of understanding on this most important subject. If salvation is deliverance from Hell, then Hell must be thoroughly understood! Now let's see how well you know the subject and whether your beliefs are based upon facts or simply the "traditions of men." Looking back on my years as a religious zealot trying to save the world, although I went to Church regularly and studied the Bible much more than most of my counterparts, my belief was based upon the "traditions of men," and a couple of Bible translations that mistranslated a handful of key words. Ask your church leaders these questions. Look them in the eyes and see if their answers belong to them or if they are just regurgitating the denominations traditions. You MAY be shocked to find out they have almost NO answers to ANY of the questions. And now for the questions:

I think that a person whose mental faculties, conscience and heart are still working will come to the reasonable conclusion that the concept of Hell as a place of everlasting punishment leaves a LOT of questions unanswered. Yes, the concept of Hell (and that is all it is, a false concept) seems to violate everything that is reasonable. It violates the nature of God which is unconditional Love. It violates the wisdom of God, the pleasure of God, the promises of God, the oath of God, the power of God; it negates the full power of the cross of Christ; it goes against the testimony of the prophets; it violates the testimony of Jesus Christ and His apostles; it violates the Scriptures in their original languages; it violates the writings of the early church leaders who read the Scriptures in the original languages; it goes against our conscience and our hearts, Finally, it has the ring of something the subtlest of all creatures would concoct…the greatest lie ever told.

Jesus and the apostles gave many warnings over 1900 hundred years ago that many would rise up within the church and draw many people after themselves forming denominations built upon the traditions of men and NOT the Truth. 1900 years has spawned over 30,000 denominations of Christendom--denominations which cannot unite because they are divided by their "interpretations" of Scriptures AND traditions which have been added which are NOT based upon the Bible. "A kingdom divided against itself CANNOT stand." (Mark 3:24) Obviously, the denominations of Christendom are NOT the kingdom of God. The Scriptures warned us that most Christians would depart from the faith. It is plainly written for all to see. Why is it that many Christians cannot see what is plainly written?

1 John 2:18-20

Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us. But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth.

 

1 John 2:26,27

26 I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray. As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit-- just as it has taught you, remain in him.

1 Tim. 4:9-16

Do thy diligence to come shortly unto me: For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry. And Tychicus have I sent to Ephesus. The cloke that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee, and the books, but especially the parchments. Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works: Of whom be thou ware also; for he hath greatly withstood our words. At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.

 

Acts 20:26-31

Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. (Note Paul NEVER preached salvation as deliverance from Hell.)

KJV Galatians 3:1-3

O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?

2 Peter 3:15-18

And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.

 

1 Cor. 1:10-15

Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were ye baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius; lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name.

As we can plainly see, God warned that there would come a great falling away IN THE VERY FIRST CENTURY, not hundreds of years later. That early falling away would produce a system of religion full of the abominations of the world. (Rev. Chapter 17 and 18) One must look to the past to find the "great falling away," NOT the future. John, the apostle whom Jesus loved said it was the "last hour!" Last hour of what?

The writer of Hebrews writing over 1900 years ago informs us that they were living at the "end of the world:"

"For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself." (Heb. 9:26)

Obviously he was NOT talking about the physical world. The writer of Hebrews was writing to Jews who were under the Old Covenant "world." This "world" was about to come to an end when Titus would destroy the city of Jerusalem, the only city in which Jews could offer up animal sacrifices to God. The Mosaic Covenant world was coming to an end and God was about to establish a New Heaven and a New World, that is, a new Covenant. This was very plain to Hebrew-speaking Jews of the first century. We, modern Christians, have misused certain key words which have thrown off our eschatological understandings greatly.

The fact is that the great falling away occurred almost 2000 years ago and every denomination of Christianity is a part of it. The glue that keeps this abominable system of divided denominations together is the teaching that God is a failure. God fell short of His goal to save all mankind, thus making God to appear as the greatest fool and hypocrite that ever lived. The doctrine of Hell is one of the major instruments Satan has used to turn sincere seekers away from the truth turning them either to idolatry in the form of false religions or materialism. The rest became atheists or agnostics.

Recently I watched a movie entitled "Inherit the Wind" which dealt with the subject of whether evolution could be taught in public schools. Prior to the trial, a young boy the young science teacher was very fond of and was mentoring drowned. At the boy's funeral, some Hell-fire fundamentalists talked about how this boy was rotting in Hell because he wasn't "saved" before he drowned. The words of these fundamentalists turned this science teacher away from the Truth towards the lie of evolution. There are countless atheists and agnostics in the world who have been turned aside from seeking God because of this greatest of lies.

Perhaps the reader can now see some of the horrible consequences of this terrible stain on the nature and character of our heavenly Father. Now if the reader still insists that God endlessly tortures most of the human beings He made and also insist that the love of God is in you, then you owe all the people in the world a reasonable answer to the above questions.

Thousands of people in ages past HAVE asked these questions and have come to the logical Scriptural conclusion that the teaching of Hell is a plain unadulterated lie of the highest magnitude. Men and women like Abraham Lincoln, Florence Nightingale, Charles Dickens, Benjamin Rush (signer of the Declaration of Independence) asked questions like the ones above and reasonably concluded that Jesus IS the Savior of the whole world, not just a piece of it. After all, how can one be called the "Savior of the world" unless one actually saves it?

Great theologians and scholars have also come to the same conclusion. Among them are William Barclay, William Law, Karl Barth, Schliermacher, Bishop Westcott, Lightfoot, Canon F.W. Farrar, John A.T. Robinson, Andrew Murray and Andrew Jukes. Some of the greatest writers and poets are in the "Cloud of Witnesses" to the glorious truth of the salvation of all mankind through our glorious savior Jesus Christ. Elizabeth Browing, John Donne, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Harriet Beecher Stowe and countless more. The list of preachers who have asked these same questions and have come to the reasonable and Scriptural truth that Hell is nothing more than a great lie is endless. They were not afraid to ask their Maker some straight-forward questions. They invited the Holy Spirit promised by Jesus to lead us all into Truth to make plain to them the Truth concerning the doctrine of Hell. Men and women of all ages have asked these questions AND have received truthful answers to these questions. A man named A.C. Thomas collected some of these questions and they found themselves in a book written in the 1800's entitled: "The Key to Truth" by E. H. Lake. Isn't it time to get the Truth? Here are some of the questions sincere people from all ages have asked which brought them to the truth.